WHEREAS Section 666 of the Municipal Government Act (the MGA) empowers a subdivision authority to require an owner of land being subdivided to provide as reserve lands and without compensation, a portion of the land being subdivided for a park, a school, or for a park and school purpose, or to pay money in lieu of providing said lands;AND WHEREAS Section 663 of the MGA precludes a subdivision authority from collecting reserve land or money in lieu of reserve land for a first parcel subdivision taken from a quarter section;AND WHEREAS a first parcel subdivision has the potential to place additional demands on local authorities to acquire school or park property similar to other subdivisions;AND WHEREAS there is no current reason to justify the existing blanket exemption granted to first parcel subdivisions, exempting them from being required to provide reserve lands or money in place of reserve lands.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to amend the Municipal Government Act by deleting Section 663 (a) in its entirety, thereby giving municipal authorities the discretion to require an owner of a quarter section of land subject to a first parcel subdivision to provide without compensation, a portion of the land being subdivided (or money in lieu) for a park, a school, or for a park and school purpose.
The Municipal Government Act allows municipalities the discretion to collect reserves (land and/or money) from certain subdivisions. The purpose of this provision is to allow municipalities to collect land and/or money from developers due to anticipated demands for additional school or park land. However, the Act does not allow municipalities to collect reserves for first parcel subdivisions from quarter sections. This is unfair, as the creation of the first subdivision has the potential to place additional demands on municipalities just as the second or third subdivisions do.According to F. Laux in Planning Law and Practice in Alberta, the reason this exception is included in the Act is to give a farmer a right to subdivide the farmstead, or another area in the quarter, to accommodate a retirement residence, a residence for family members or a farm consolidation, without facing the prospect of losing a portion of the quarter as reserve land or having to pay money in lieu. Moreover, such a subdivision by its nature is not one that will generate a demand for park or school land. This explanation may no longer be relevant, as many first parcel subdivisions have less to do with a farmers retirement and more to do with the income a landowner may realize by subdividing a quarter and selling a lot. Depending on where in the province this first parcel subdivision occurs, this income can be significant.The important aspect of this resolution is that the change will give municipalities the discretion to collect reserves from first parcel subdivisions. They will not be obligated to do so.